Youthful skin – since Ponce de Leon’s search for the fountain of youth, looking younger has always been a goal. Although the fountain was a myth, with today’s flood of research on skincare ingredients we are closer than ever to achieving youthful skin. Heidi Nicol, an esthetician with Renown Dermatology, Laser & Skin Care, shares the top anti-aging ingredients to add to your skin care routine.
What is the #1 product I can use for youthful skin?
Sunscreen. You can spend less on your skin care overall if you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day. Why every day? Because UVA (aging) rays are invisible, so it’s important to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. UVA rays penetrate fog, clouds and even glass. In fact drivers often show more signs of age on the left side of their faces. Nicol recommends daily use of SPF 30 sunscreen or higher, reapplying per the instructions.
Use sunscreen on all exposed parts of your body including your neck, chest, back of hands, ears and feet. Some chemicals in sunscreens have been shown to harm fish and other marine life. Although convenient, consumers are encouraged to avoid spray or misting sun products. If your skin is easily irritated, SPF clothing and hats are an even better option.
Other Youthful Skin Ingredients
Available by prescription only (such as Retin-A), retinoids have a higher, more powerful, concentration of retinoic acid. In fact, only a small pea-sized amount is needed for the entire face.
Retinoids are widely used to treat acne, make fine wrinkles less noticeable, smooth skin and reduce discoloration. Additionally, they increase collagen production by penetrating under the skin’s surface.
“Use retinoids as tolerated,” advises Nicol. “Build your use up gradually and only use them at night.” In general, a conservative approach when starting a retinoid is best to avoid peeling, stinging and redness. Sun sensitivity is also a side effect, so be sure to use a daily sunscreen.
A weaker form of retinoid found in over-the-counter products. Retinol is gentler (and less irritating) to those with sensitive skin, working more gradually than prescription retinoids.
Of course, keeping a consistent routine is important when using retinols and retinoids. Stick with your new routine for at least 12 weeks to see noticeable changes.
Surprisingly, hyaluronic acid (HA) is naturally found in your skin. Healthy skin is supple skin and HA helps to keep your skin hydrated by binding with water. As an illustration, a single molecule of HA holds a thousand times its weight in water. If you are suffering from dry skin, wrinkles or redness, this is your go-to product.
“HA attracts and traps moisture in your skin,” explains Nicol. “Look for this ingredient in your moisturizer and use it every day and night.” Equally important – it is extremely gentle and good for all skin types, even the most sensitive.
This acid is especially helpful for acne-prone skin as it dissolves pore-clogging skin debris. It helps unclog pores and reduce bacteria on the skin that can cause whiteheads and blackheads. It is commonly found in face washes and toners for the skin.
“This is a mild acid and can be used as tolerated,” says Nicol. “Use it at night, as sunlight will degrade it.”
Vitamin C applied on top of the skin has many benefits. First, it is absorbed into the dermal layer of the skin. Second, studies suggest it can reduce UV damage. This means it stops pigmentation (darkening of the skin) making your skin look brighter and more even. Lastly, it helps to reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
On the negative side, not all vitamin C products have a stable shelf life. Consult a skin care professional on the best type of vitamin C to use for your skin.